What New Mothers Need to Know: Perspectives from Women and Providers in Georgia

Abstract

Identifying the educational and resource needs of new mothers is of paramount importance in developing programs to improve maternal and child health outcomes. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the educational needs of new mothers and identify opportunities to enhance healthcare providers’ current educational efforts. A two-part methodology was utilized to qualitatively explore the topic of parenting information needs for new mothers in Georgia. Data collection included information from 11 focus groups with 92 first-time, new mothers and 20 interviews with healthcare providers who serve new mothers. Discussions with both new mothers and providers clearly indicated that new mothers face a significant informational deficit, especially regarding very basic, daily infant care information and health literacy challenges. Educational materials already exist; however, mothers report difficulty accessing and understanding this information. For this reason, both the mothers and the providers stressed a focus on developing programs or interventions that allow in-person education and/or alternative modalities to access information, as opposed to development of new written materials solely. Information from the focus group and interviews provided important insight regarding what improvements need to be made to help new mothers and their families during the early stages of parenthood. By improving the education of new mothers and their families, it is proposed that maternal and infant health status could be improved.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Georgia Department of Public Health, Office of Maternal and Child Health. Special thanks to Jonathan Hawley, Lauren Corboy and Whitney Woodruff for their assistance. We would also like to express our gratitude to staff at the various recruitment sites for their assistance in scheduling and accommodating the focus group sessions at the sites. Most of all, we are indebted to all of the mothers and providers who participated in this project by sharing their time, perceptions and experiences with us.

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Correspondence to Julie A. Gazmararian.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 Focus group discussion guide

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Provider Interview Guide

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Gazmararian, J.A., Dalmida, S.G., Merino, Y. et al. What New Mothers Need to Know: Perspectives from Women and Providers in Georgia. Matern Child Health J 18, 839–851 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-013-1308-8

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Keywords

  • Mothers
  • Infant
  • Health education
  • Health knowledge